Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year, A New Year's Resolution

Last year, I had a couple of goals. One was to read 38 books. I managed to surpass my goal. (I highly recommend Goodreads to my friends who like to read. They keep track of goals, books, ratings, and make recommendations.)

I also said that I wanted to continue to work out and improve my financial situation.

I worked out fairly regularly up until I ran the BolderBoulder, which hurt my ankles pretty badly. I was out of commission for nearly three months. I have done little since then. I count that as a fail...

Financially speaking, I am doing much better. Some of that has to do with getting a better job, but also habit and necessity. I have to pay health insurance and my student loans came due a couple of months ago. I have nearly paid off my credit card debt! I feel pretty good about my financial standing right now (even though I am still very much in debt).

Next year will be a little different. Mainly, I have not been feeling very good about myself. There are numerous reasons for this, and I will not go into all the details. Part of it is my physical appearance, but a good portion of it actually my self-esteem and self-confidence. I had a short period of a few days before my birthday where I felt very consumed by self-doubt and inadequacy. And then I did some research. And I created a plan. I want to include some of these things only because I think it might benefit other people.

I searched for and read articles about things like body image and self-esteem issues. After gathering enough information to feel like I had a grasp on what was going on, I wrote things down.

First of all, I realize that there are some things about me and my appearance that I cannot change. And I need to come to terms with that. Some days are better than others. So I wrote down some of the things that I CAN change. Mainly, that I wanted to have regular exercise. I plan to get some sort of gym membership and start running again and working out. Despite what people may think, I am not concerned about my weight nor will I ever have an eating disorder (because I love food!). I know it will help with toning and strength. Plus, a healthy body is a happy body!

Then I wrote down good things about myself and my body. Overall, I am healthy. There are many things that my body does and can do for me, et cetera. In almost every article I read, they made this suggestion so that you realize that your body is important and it does do so many good things. Plus, I am proud of my education and my self respect and sensitivity. I wrote that I am lucky because I have tons of loving and supportive people around me. And that makes me feel good. I also wrote down things I liked about my appearance. It is good to keep in mind that not everything is "bad" (I use that term loosely, because nothing should be bad).

Then I wrote down what I can and will address and how. I also wrote down the things I need to come to terms with.

Lastly, I did a section about why a good self-image and self-esteem is important to me. I hope that this will help keep me on the right track.

I made sure to leave space to write more, because as I go through these processes, I hope to fill out more things that I like about myself and my image.

There is a bigger picture here, but this seems to be the root of my problems, and I feel like this is where I need to start in order to make things good for me (and the people around me). I know that is vague, but my over all problems are very complicated, deeply layered, and personal. And I'm not sure I'm quite up to sharing. The point is, there are things I can do to change my attitude, and that is my goal. I hope that others with similar issues may find help in this post. I will say, just doing the research and writing everything out and making a plan helps me feel better because I feel like I am actually in control. Small steps!

Aside from this, I want to read more. My goal will be 40 books. I want to craft more and blog more. I will continue to look for a career in my field. I will spend time with the people I love. I will continue to better my financial situation.

Good luck to everyone in the new year and good luck setting and completing goals of your own!

I hope all of you have a very happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It seems like we had a strange Christmas season this year. It didn't feel very festive, even for me, up until last night. The snow and spending time with family and friends helped.

It was a nice Christmas for me and mine. I hope everyone else had an enjoyable holiday!

Last weekend, some of my family and their friends had a Hanukkah party. It was really nice to see everyone and eat delicious latkes! Mine never turn out that good... I can't figure out the secret!

But here are pictures of Raina at the party:
Here she is looking at my Auntie Francie
Raina smiling and laughing at Auntie Kema!

And on Christmas eve, we had a little family dinner at my mom's house. Again, here are some Raina-centered pictures because she tried baby food for the first time:

First taste!
Thinking the sweet potatoes might be alright! She liked them.
All tuckered out.
We got to spend time with Isaac's family, too, which is always nice. We had a brief get together with my brother, his (now!) fiance, and Raina and I had Christmas dinner with an old friend and her family.

I hope that I will get to see my sister this weekend and there is a great gathering of friends for our little Christmas! Still so much to do and enjoy! I am one lucky girl.

Birthday Lights

My birthday was quite nice this year. I thought I would have to work, but I ended up having it off. I had breakfast with my mom and then we went shopping. I had a late lunch and coffee with Liz. Then Isaac and I went to our Indian restaurant together for dinner.

A couple of days after my birthday, my bosses got me a (delicious) birthday cake:

The next day, I got to have a little dinner with a couple of friends, which was nice. And a couple of days later, some of my friends and I got together, had hot chocolate, and drove around to look at awesome Christmas lights.

It was fun and laid back. And thanks again to Krissy for driving!

Here are some of the lights we saw:

And here is one that we stumbled upon that had their lights synced to music that you accessed via radio. I could only upload a shortened clip, but you get the idea!

It was loads of fun! Thanks guys!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

More Holiday Festivities

Saturday night, Isaac and I went to the holiday party for my workplace. It was held up in Black Hawk at the Ameristar. I hadn't been there before. It was a casino, so lots of flashing lights and noise. But it was clean and nice. The crew does this every year and eats at the buffet and it's very casual and laid back.

It was fun. I got to meet more family members of my coworkers. And I wasn't sure what to expect food-wise, but the food was very good! And there was a decent vegetarian selection. Dessert was awesome (can you go wrong with a chocolate fountain?? No. The answer is "no").

We all ate until it hurt and talked and laughed. It was very nice. Some of the gang stayed to gamble and others left. Isaac and I each tried a slot machine for a bit, but we didn't stay long. I just had to try the slot machine with bears on it.

Sunday, my friend Liz had a cookie decorating party, so we went to that. It was quite a group of fun people so we ended up with some funny cookies! Here are some of them:
My rather plain-looking cookies.
Graham made a candy cane into a Christmas snake. And that's a zombie under it.
Liz's pretty and fun cookies. I like the snowflake and the Abominable Snowman!
Peter's snowflake-turned-monster cookie.
Wren "decorating" cookies.

That's all for now! We still have more December events coming up!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Birthday Post

Today I am 27 years old!

One of my coworkers knows of some website where you can put in your day of birth and it gives you interesting and silly information. I told him I was born on this day in 1987. ("I have socks older than you!" he told me as he punched in my birthday). Here is some of the stuff it told me.

I was born on a Tuesday (true).

I was born in the Egyptian month of Menchir. My Hebrew birthday is 25 Kislev (because I was born after sundown). According to the Mayan calendar, my birthday is 12 baktun 18 katun 14 tun 11 uinak 0 kin. On the Islamic calendar, or Hijra, my birthday is Tuesday, 23 Rabi'u'th-Thani 1408.

Several celebrities share my birthday, but I didn't recognize anyone on the list. My favorite to say is Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

There were several "top songs" that year, including "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi.

It also informed me that the 27 candles on my cake produce 27 BTUs or 6,804 calories of heat which I could use to boil 3.09 ounces of water.

The day I was born, the moon phase was waning crescent.

Pretty cool and random. I am not entirely sure how valid it is, but it was fun. The thing spit out nearly three full pages of random information about my day, month, and year of birth.

Here is the site if anyone is curious: Birthday Calculator.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pet Rats

We all know how much I love(d) my little ratties. I still think about them quite often. Sometimes I get overwhelmingly sad that they are gone, but I also have plenty of good memories.
Babies in a hammock!
Big ratties in a hammock!
I decided that I do want more rats. I think I am starting to get to a point where I will want more soon. I knew I wasn't ready for a long time because every time I thought about getting rats, I couldn't picture having any others but my Romulus and Remus.

I follow several people on both Instagram and Tumblr who are rat owners and lovers. It is so fun to see the pictures and I can't help but think that there are so many other sweet, cool, and cute rats out there that I haven't met yet. That sounds silly, but it has helped me move on from needing to "replace" my rats and to a place where I would like to form new bonds and relationships with other rats.

Do I sound like the crazy rat lady or what?
Big old rats on top of their house.
Baby rats on top of the same house. So tiny!
The point is, I really love rats. I think they are so fun and cute. I like to follow people who have pet rats and see what happens and what things they do together. And I know from experience how much fun rats can be. And I think, sometime in the near-ish future, there will be rats here again. I have started stalking the page of the breeder that I got my boys from, and will probably apply for adoption in a couple of months. I will keep you posted.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Party Number One

On Saturday evening, Isaac and I went to the first holiday party of the season. The theme was Great Gatsby or Roaring 20s. I decided that the usual fashion for women was not very flattering to my figure, so I decided to coordinate my outfit with Isaac's. We were that gross couple. Here are some photos we had taken at a photo booth:

Our colors were blue and grey, but I had to add some sparkle to mine, of course.

We did get quite a few compliments. And I was one of the very few women in slacks and one of an even smaller number in flats, so I was quite comfortable. Which is extra good because we took the light rail downtown and had to walk from the stop to and from the hotel.

For my hair and makeup (both of which you can hardly see in the pictures...), I wanted to share the tutorials I used.

For hair, I wanted something easy that I could wear a hat on top of. I actually did make a headband that matches my hat, which, again, you cannot see. It turned out really easy and nice though! Easiest 1920s Inspired Hairstyle Tutorial.

I am pretty clueless when it comes to makeup, so I found this tutorial which was great. I do not have an extensive makeup collection, but I was able to work with what I had. Again, you can't see my makeup in the pictures, but I was very proud of my smoky eyeshadow and cupid's bow lips. Historically Accurate: 1920s Makeup Tutorial. And her stuff is great because it comes with a brief history lesson.

It was a very fun night with awesome people, fun shows, and more. I like getting dressed up and having cocktails (the special was St. Germaine in champagne, which I love). I felt very fancy and Isaac and I both had a good time.

Next week is my work party, which will be much more casual.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Why I Love December

December is my month. Yes, my month. Despite the nasty, cold, snowy weather, I am happy in December.

Even working at Starbucks was awesome at this time of the year. The holidays were my favorite time to work in coffee shops.

Several of my friends have birthdays in December (Happy Birthday, all!) which means hangouts, gatherings, and general fun. Hanukkah is (usually) in December, as is Christmas. That means Christmas and Hanukkah parties. Isaac and I get to go to two Christmas parties, one for each of our work places, and I am already excited. Dressing up, going out, and having dinner! We don't get to do that very often. And we already have disgustingly coordinated outfits planned for his work party.

We were invited to the annual Hanukkah party that my dad's side of the family and their friends have. Get to hang out with family and friends and eat latkes. And who doesn't like that?

Once December is here, I allow myself to listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, read Christmas and Hanukkah books, and enjoy the lights. Lit menorahs and Christmas lights make me smile.

Plus, it is my birthday. And I love my birthday! That often turns into a week-long celebration.

I suppose it boils down to December being FULL of fun events which allow me to spend a ton of time having fun with my friends and family. And that is pretty exciting.